This Napa cabbage salad & teriyaki chicken tacos are delicious and so simple to make, especially if you have leftover teriyaki chicken in the fridge!
I remember the first time that I ever encountered Napa cabbage. I had just gotten a copy of Ellie Krieger’s book The Food You Crave and really wanted to make the chicken chow mein recipe from it. So I did, purchasing a gigantic head of Napa cabbage that cost me a small fortune back in 2007 and of which I used about, oh, I don’t know, 10 leaves? There were a lot more than ten leaves on this head, I assure you.
It’s unfortunate that I didn’t know of this recipe back then. My mom made this a couple of weeks ago when we were at her house for dinner and we were all completely enamored. As in we ate the entire bowl of salad then sat at the table picking the almonds and the ramen noodle crispies from the pool of dressing at the bottom.
Did you know that you can eat ramen noodles without boiling them first? I was never much of a ramen lover (though my mom would buy them for my brother and sister) until I became a dorm-dweller then apparently I felt that I needed to conform to the stereotype. I haven’t eaten ramen since then, till now that is. I remember back in those days cracking a pack open and crunching on them, probably because I was out of microwave popcorn and needed a snack. I’ll tell you, though, the buttery, toasty ramen noodle pieces and almonds in this recipe are addictive, and it’s dangerous to have them cooling on the stove, waiting until the last second for you to dump them on top of a big bowl of cabbage while you cook the rest of dinner first. I probably could have eaten the whole pan!
I’m not sure why the idea of teriyaki chicken tacos suddenly popped into my head, but I think all of these meals revolved around my desire to make Napa cabbage salad. I thought that teriyaki chicken would go well with it and suddenly I was all, “Hey! We could bake egg roll wrappers and make teriyaki chicken tacos!” Egg roll wrappers are glorious, and while I’ve seen little Asian tacos made with wonton wrappers as appetizers at restaurants, I haven’t seen an egg roll wrapper, the much larger cousin to the wonton skin.
Eggroll wrappers are tricky business. The first time I ever made egg rolls, I’m pretty sure I had a food tantrum because I had no idea how to roll them. I found a video on foodnetwork.com. I tried to find it so I could link to it here but I didn’t see it anywhere, so you may have to search elsewhere these days. My point is, it’s not hard but you have to know the right technique. That doesn’t really matter here, though.
Egg rolls, of course, are usually fried, but frying just uses too much oil and I always feel so wasteful so I “bake-fry” everything, which means that I brush it with oil and bake it on a hot stoneware pan (before I had stoneware I just preheated my metal sheet pans and it worked fine, just not quite as quickly). The trick was figuring out how to fold the wrapper like a taco and bake it without having it just close up on itself completely. Finally I just piled the chicken onto half of the wrapper, folded the other half over, and baked, being super careful when flipping them (but still losing a couple of pieces). We drizzled on a little of that white sauce; I topped mine with the cabbage salad, Philip didn’t. My hunch about these making great tacos? Not incorrect (and I even used the wrappers and cabbage salad to make egg rolls for lunch yesterday!).
Try my Napa cabbage salad & teriyaki chicken tacos asap!
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1 bunch green onions (thinly sliced)
- 1/3 cup butter (the measurement was marked on my butter wrapper!)
- 3oz package ramen noodles (any flavor, seasoning packet discarded)
- 1 cup almonds, chopped (you could also use prepackaged slivered almonds)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 Cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (you could also use a more neutral flavored oil like canola)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I really wanted to use rice vinegar here but I didn't have any in my pantry!)
- 1 Recipe chicken teriyaki
- 8 egg roll wrappers
- 1 tablespoon oil (I used melted coconut oil)
- Japanese steakhouse white sauce (optional)
- Napa cabbage salad (optional)
- To make the salad: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the thick white part from the bottom of the head of cabbage. Quarter the head then thinly slice the cabbage into thin ribbons. Wash and spin dry in a salad spinner or rinse in a colander and dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Thinly slice the green onions and place the cabbage and onions in a bowl together. Refrigerate until you are almost ready to serve. Melt the butter. Break the ramen noodles into small pieces and combine in a bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds. Pour the butter over and toss to coat completely. Spread on a baking sheet and bake, stirring every five minutes or so, until browned (this took about fifteen minutes for me). Allow to cool on the stovetop until you are almost ready to serve. Try not to eat all of it off of the baking sheet! Whisk the honey, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and olive oil until completely combined. In a very large bowl, combine the cabbage/green onions, ramen/almond/sesame seed mixture, and the dressing. Toss to coat completely. Serve immediately.
- To make the tacos: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I preheated my baking stone and used it for this recipe, but you could also use a metal baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of each egg roll wrapper with the oil. Carefully arrange the chicken teriyaki over half of each egg roll wrapper then fold the other half over the chicken. Arrange the "tacos" on the baking sheet. Bake until the tacos reach the desired brownness, turning every five minutes (careful not to lose the filling!). This took about fifteen minutes for me. Top with white sauce and cabbage salad, if desired.